Troy Ave will have to spend at least the next two weeks in the infirmary at Riker’s Island, although his lawyer told Billboard on Tuesday (May 31) that the rapper is the real victim in the shooting last Wednesday (May 25) at Irving Plaza that took the life of 33-year-old Roland (Edgar) McPhatter.
“I said it in court, he’s the real victim here,” attorney Scott Leemon said of the Brooklyn rapper born Roland Collins, 30, who pleaded not guilty to attempted murder charges in a Manhattan courtroom on Monday (May 30). Collins is being held without bail and was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair following two surgeries on his legs conducted in the prison infirmary. Leemon also stated in court that McPhatter was not shot by his client and that Collins did not shoot himself.
According to Newsday, bodyguard McPhatter was facing attempted murder charges as a result of a shooting outside a Manhattan hookah bar in November and was due back in court in the case on June 29.
Leemon would not comment on what the surgeries entailed and what specific injuries Collins suffered in the incident, which also resulted in two other people getting wounded when gunfire erupted backstage in the venue’s VIP room. “His longtime friend and bodyguard died trying to protect him,” Leemon said of McPhatter. “As my co-counsel, John Stella, said in court, Troy has no criminal record and he is not a gangsta rapper.”
Stella was specifically reacting to NYPD Commissioner William Bratton’s comments last week in which he lamented the violence in the “gangsta rap world,” which he said glorified violence. “The crazy world of these so-called rap artists who are basically thugs, that basically celebrate violence they did all their lives, and unfortunately that violence oftentimes manifests itself during their performances and that’s exactly what happened last evening,” Bratton said.
As for the eight-second clip of security footage that police released the day after the shooting, Leemon said it doesn’t tell the whole story of what happened in that backstage area before or after the shooting and who was just outside of the camera’s range as it took place. Leemon declined to comment when asked if the real shooter is still out there or if stringent security procedures were in place at the backstage entrance to the venue. “If anyone does have information about this case, please feel free to reach out to me,” he urged witnesses.
According to The New York Times, NYPD Detective John Santiago, who signed the criminal complaint charging Collins with attempted murder, based his finding entirely on the security camera footage that appeared to show a person the police identified as Collins limping into the room, raising a handgun and firing a shot in the “direction of other individuals.” Results of ballistic tests from the scene have not yet been revealed.
Collins is due in court for a status hearing on June. 9.